Inflammatory Bowel Disease – IBD

IBD is a classification of bowel disease that is made up of two distinct conditions – Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It is important not to confuse IBD with the much less serious condition IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

IBD is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the gut. Thought to be an autoimmune disorder, doctors and researchers are unsure of the exact cause or trigger. While both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are considered Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, they differ in significant ways: Crohn’s Disease can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus; while UC affects only the colon.

There are a few shared symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Sudden and urgent need for a bowel movement
  • Cramping and pain in the abdomen
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel evacuation
  • Constipation

Non GI symptoms that can accompany IBD:

  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Young women may experience abnormal menstrual cycles

Even if you have some of these symptoms, only proper testing by a gastroenterologist can produce a diagnosis.

Managing your IBD is an important step to leading a normal life. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions, take your prescribed medicines as directed and report any sudden changes to your gastroenterologist.

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